Javan

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This article is about the biblical name. For Katherine Kurtz's fictional character, see Javan of Gwynedd. "Javan" is also an adjectival form for Java, which refers to something from the island of Java, and distinct from the term Javanese.

Javan (Hebrew יָוָן, Standard Hebrew Yavan, Tiberian Hebrew Yāwān) was the fourth son of Noah's son Japheth according to the "Table of Nations" (Genesis chapter 10) in the Hebrew Bible. Flavius Josephus states the traditional belief that this individual was the ancestor of the Greek people.

The world as known to the Hebrews

Also serving as the Hebrew name for Greece or Greeks in general, Yavan or (Tiberian) Yāwān (יָוָן) is probably cognate with the name of the eastern Greeks, the Ionians (Greek Iōnes, earlier Ιαϝονες Iawones). The Greek race has been known by cognate names throughout the Eastern Mediterranean and beyond—even in Sanskrit (yavana). In Greek mythology, the eponymous forefather of the Ionians is similarly called Ion, a son of Apollo.

Javan is also found in apocalyptic literature in the Book of Daniel, 8:21-22 and 11:2, in reference to the King of Greece (יון)—most commonly interpreted as a reference to Alexander the Great.[1]

While Javan is generally associated with the ancient Greeks and Greece (cf. Gen. 10:2, Dan. 8:21, Zech. 9:13, etc.), his sons (as listed in Genesis 10) are usually associated with locations in the Northeastern Mediterranean Sea and Anatolia: Elishah (modern Cyprus), Tarshish (modern southern Turkey), Kittim (modern Cyprus), and Dodanim (alt. 1 Chron. 1:7 'Rodanim,' the island of Rhodes, west of modern Turkey between Cyprus and the mainland of Greece).[2]

References

  1. ^ See the classic reference commentary of Matthew Henry: http://www.ccel.org/ccel/henry/mhc4.Dan.ix.html
  2. ^ Anson F. Rainey, The Sacred Bridge: Carta’s Atlas of the Biblical Word, Carta: Jerusalem, 2006, 27; and Yohanan Aharoni, Michael Avi-Yonah, Anson F. Rainey, Ze’ev Safrai, The Macmillan Bible Atlas, Macmillan Publishing: New York, 1993, p. 21.

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